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Everything you need to know before building your dream man cave
The modern man cave has become so awesome that it’s not just men who want them anymore. In recent years we have seen the rise of the She Sheds (that’s a female version of a man cave if you haven’t heard that phrase before). That being said, today we’re here to discuss how to build the ultimate man cave.
We think every man should have a man cave. They provide somewhere for us to relax after work, to work on our hobbies, and to do some self-reflection. When a house has a man cave, every member of the household benefits from it. If you want to feel more relaxed at home and spend your weekends with a smile on your face, you need a man cave.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to creating a man cave. Because of that, the process can feel overwhelming. If only you have the ultimate guide to the process to help you out…
We’re going to cover every element of creating a man cave, including where you should put it, what it should have in it, and how to decorate it. Along the way, we’ll be dishing handy tips to help the whole process go smoothly for you.
Are you ready to learn how to build the ultimate man cave?
“Solitude is fine but you need someone to tell you that solitude is fine.”
― Honoré de Balzac
What is a Man Cave?
Spare a thought for the men who lived in the era before man caves. They were sent out to the potting shed, or a dreary garage to spend their time. We’re lucky enough to build our man caves inside, or at least in a well-insulated shed.
A man cave is often dismissed as some kind of juvenile den where men go to drink beer and avoid doing chores. We’ll be the first to admit that man caves can sometimes be used for those kinds of activities. But man caves are so much more than that.
A man cave is not about avoiding wives and family members, they’re about creating space for the man to relax and focus on himself. Without getting in the way of the rest of the family.
Man caves can be used for nearly everything – including hosting sport watching parties for friends, being a mini gym, or even just being a quiet place to practice the violin.
The most important thing to remember when creating the ultimate man cave is that it is for you. It’s not Chuck from next door’s man cave, it’s not your brother’s man cave, it’s yours. And you get to fill it with the things that make you happy.
A functioning man cave is a reflection of the man who owns it. So make sure you design it to help you be the best man you can be. Or at least the happiest man you can be.
We go into more depth about what a man cave is including the history of the modern man cave in our article What is a Man Cave?
“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but (my man cave) more”
― Lord Byron (and us)
Why Do You Need a Man Cave?
People often underestimate the power of the man cave. Building yourself one can have so many unexpected benefits in your life. Sadly, we don’t have time to list all of them today. What we can do, however, is give you a list of our top four reasons for building yourself a man cave:
In a world where we can reach anyone instantly online or through our phones, lots of us have lost the ability to truly be alone. This is a really bad thing! Thankfully, the man cave exists to right this wrong.
Spending time alone can have a whole host of benefits in our lives, including allowing us to feel truly relaxed. None of us are our best selves when we’re stressed. Having a place to go and unwind not only makes us happier, but it will also make the people around us cheerier as well.
Display the things you love
It’s hard to say how long have couples been clashing over decor. But we suspect it wasn’t long after Adam and Eve left Eden. And we certainly weren’t the first men to have to put some of our favorite posts and crude decorative items in the loft because they ‘didn’t fit’ with the rest of the house.
Enter the man cave, here to save the day once again. In your man cave you are in charge of the decor. If you want to put up those old movie posters, that full-size Chewbacca Statue or that hang your sword over the fireplace – there’s nothing and no one stopping you.
This may be the first time you have experienced this kind of freedom in your life. Go on, enjoy it!
Whether you have small kids, or it’s just you and the other half in your home – parties can cause a bit of tension.
When they happen in a shared space they exclude all the other members of your family from using that space. They can get very loud and keep the rest of your family up. And let’s be honest your other half doesn’t want to spend the next few days in a living room that smells like beer and pizza.
In your man cave, you can host your parties undisturbed. Knowing that you are having as little impact as possible on the rest of your family. Knowing that only you have to live with the smell of beer afterward.
Knowing that no one is going to tell you off for spilling said beer on the carpet. And you can swear at the game without worrying about the little ones learning some cuss words.
Practice your hobbies
When we’re passionate about something we want to do it all the time, and usually we want to be able to do it alone. The problem with not having your own space in the house is that your hobbies inevitably split out into the shared spaces. This can lead to things getting damaged, lack of privacy, and constant interruptions.
Now, imagine you have a room all to yourself. A room where you have enough space to store all the equipment you need for your hobbies. A room where no one can disturb you. Doesn’t that sound good? You’re dreaming of a man cave.
“I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Where to Build a Man Cave?
The very first problem you will have to tackle when creating your man cave is deciding (and getting your partner’s approval) on where you’re going to build said man cave.
You have a few options to choose from, and there is no right or wrong answer. The best option for you will entirely depend on your personal and living situation. Below we have broken down the pros and cons of the different rooms in the house as a man cave:
If you’re lucky enough to have a spare room then you may want to consider this as an option for your man cave. It should be fairly easy to convert it into a fully functioning man cave in no time.
- Most likely will need no structural work or insulation
- Should already have a decent amount of power outlets
- Most likely will have a good amount of space
- Good phone signal
- Good Wi-Fi signal
- Easy to warm in winter
- Still very close to the rest of the house
- It Will probably be very close to other bedrooms, meaning you won’t be able to throw any parties
- Overall the house will lose storage space
- You will lose a space for guests to stay
Most people dismiss basements as an option for a man cave. They tend to be cold, dark, and prone to flooding. All of this can be prevented if you are prepared to invest in some structural work. Basements are usually pretty soundproof.
- Usually quite large
- Usually have a decent amount of power outlets
- Pretty soundproof
- Very separate from the rest of the house
- Prone to flooding in most areas
- Can be cold and dark
- Can require a lot of structural work
- You may struggle to get equipment into your basement
- Can contain the central heating unit (you will get no peace and quiet if this is the case)
- Phone signal can be bad in basements
- As can wifi signal
Most of us have a garage, and more likely than not yours is currently being used as a storage space, are we right? Why not rent a storage unit and turn your garage into your ultimate man cave. They can be a little bit cold but they can easily be insulated. If you want to use your garage, check out How to Turn A Garage Into A Man Cave.
- Most people have one
- They can be very big
- They make a great blank canvas once emptied
- They are separate from the rest of the house
- They can have a good phone signal
- They can have so-so wifi signal
- They can have a so-so wifi signal
- You will lose general storage space
- You will lose car storage space
- They can be cold and damp
- Can be insulated but this will cost a bit
- They don’t usually have many power outlets
If you have a loft conversion (a) we’re very jealous, and (b) doesn’t it seem like the perfect place to build a man cave? Yes, we agree. Loft conversions are cozy, they come in quirky spaces, and they usually have a lot of space.
- Lots of space
- Good phone signal
- They are usually bright
- They are usually warm
- They often have skylights
- They are often quirky shapes (which only makes decorating more fun)
- They will have a good amount of power outlets
- Your other half may want to steal this awesome space for herself
- The wifi signal can middling
- It will be really difficult to get things up here without a wide set of stairs
We’re throwing in a bit of a curveball with this one. Traditionally extensions are used as a lounge or office space. But, why not put your man cave in there…
- Good amounts of power outlets
- Usually a good size
- Good phone signal
- Good wifi signal
- Slightly separated from the rest of the house
- Usually bright
- Easy to get furniture into
- Usually well insulated and warm
- Can often feel too close to the rest of the house
Our final option – the original shed man cave. This idea has stuck around because it works. But you can’t just put a man cave in any old garden shed, you want to be looking for a shed with insulation and power. If you want to use your shed, check out How to Turn a Shed into a Man Cave.
- Good phone signal
- Lots of space
- Very separate from the best of the house
- Warm and well-insulated
- Bad Wi-Fi signal
- Can be difficult to get furniture in
- Not always enough power outlets
- Can be hard to heat in the dead of winter
- Security could be an issue – as the shed is not part of your house, it most likely won’t be included in your alarm system. If you want to have a man cave in your shed then you will need to set up separate security for it. Especially if word gets around about how awesome your man cave is.
“The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.”
― Aldous Huxley
Make Sure There's Enough Power
Now that we’ve discussed where you should put your man cave. Let’s remind ourselves of the two most important things a room or shed or garage should have if it ever wants to fulfill its dreams of becoming a man cave. These rooms need to have enough power outlets and good wifi.
Lots of Sockets
There is nothing worse than finding out that your man cave doesn’t have enough power outlets. Especially if you’ve already moved everything into your man cave.
We’ve been there. It’s heartbreaking. But if you don’t have the option to move your man cave to another location then we have a few tips and a solution for you.
What you should not do if you find yourself in this position is to load up on extension cables.
One or two in a room is okay. But you never want to make a chain of extension cords and you certainly never want to overload one.
This can be incredibly dangerous and lead to permanent damage to your house’s electrics (and to yourself). So, what can you do instead? Well, the best thing you can do is hire an electrician to install some extra power outlets in your man cave.
This may seem like a lot of hassle but it is an investment that will really pay off in the long run. You’ll be thanking yourself when you have your whole room set up, safely.
Long gone are the days when you can get away with having a man cave with no Wi-Fi signal. And you shouldn’t have to settle for that. Some of the best gadgets out there require Wi-Fi to run.
You shouldn’t have to miss out on that. If the room that you want to make your man cave has little to no Wi-Fi signal then you need to invest in some Wi-Fi extenders.
Wi-Fi extenders do exactly what they say on the tin. They bounce your Wi-Fi signal much further than your router can. With a series of Wi-Fi extenders, you will be able to get Wi-Fi signals in any room in your house. If you want to move to the shed you may need to get a secondary router.
“Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to beauty unfamiliar and perilous – to poetry. But also, it gives birth to the opposite: to the perverse, the illicit, the absurd.”
― Thomas Mann, Death in Venice and Other Tales
Designing your man cave
Up next, is designing your man cave. As tempting as it can be to jump straight into things, without spending any time planning… Well, there’s no polite way of saying this, it’s an awful idea.
You would be doing a disservice to both yourself and your man cave. You deserve the best, so it’s important that you spend some time thinking about how to get the best out of your man cave. Planning, designing, and thinking things through is the only way to build the ultimate man cave.
Spend some time measuring out the room before you make any plans. You’ll want to set yourself a firm budget and a deadline for finishing the project. Remember you are doing this for yourself, finishing on time is a matter of self-respect.
Then you should spend some time thinking about how you want your man cave to feel. Try and create a vision board that encapsulates this. Doing this will help you pick out design features moving forward.
Decide if you want a theme (we cover this later) and what you want to include in your room (we also cover this later) before you purchase anything. This will help you to avoid any nasty surprises or changes of hearts.
“In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.”
― Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays
Decorate With a Theme or Classic Look?
Let’s talk about how you should decorate your man cave. As with all elements of a man cave, there is no right or wrong answer in this section. You simply need to pick the option that makes you happy. You don’t need to worry about what other people will think of your decoration choices. And you definitely don’t need to try and copy someone else’s man cave to fit it.
The first choice you will have to make is whether you want to have a themed man cave or a classical one. When we say classical we really mean theme-less. This does not have to mean miss-matched or chaotic, just a traditional room.
There are many reasons why you may want your man cave to have a theme. You may want to theme it around a place that makes you happy like the pub or a holiday you loved. Or your favorite sports team. Or maybe a favorite movie franchise like Batman, Superman, or Star Wars.
You may want a theme that reflects your family history. You have a really cool item that you want to theme the whole room around. You may have no reason for wanting that theme other than the fact that it looks awesome. All of these are totally valid reasons.
When putting your theme together, don’t be afraid to steal ideas from establishments you love. They’re successful and famous for a reason. Plus they’ve already done the hard designing work. Why not take the best elements of all your favorite places and mix them together into a man cave that screams you.
If you’re looking for ideas for themes here are four of our favorites. We do want to give an honorable mention to the man cave we visited that mimicked the inside of the Millennium Falcon. Yes, it was as awesome as it sounds.
Want to live your lumberjack fantasy? Why not decorate your man cave like a log cabin. Yes, you may technically be in the middle of the city, but your man cave could feel like an Alaskan cottage, looking out over a lake. This kind of room could include:
- faux-stone walls
- piles of wood in the corner
- A raging fireplace
- Plenty of cool axes
- Paintings of your favorite mountains and lakes
- Comfy sofas
- Bright, but threadbare rugs
- Some amazing masks hanging on the walls
We see you, James Bond. Who wouldn’t have a casino in their home? The best part is you can’t lose to the house if you own the house! It would also be the perfect place to host poker night. A room like this is crying out for a well-stocked bar, plush red velvet seats, and a personalized deck of cards… This kind of room cold include:
- Playing card decor
- Tributes to James Bond (and other suave spies)
- A neon sign stating the name of your personal casino
- Martini glasses balanced on black trays
Ever been to a sports bar and thought, this would be so much better if it was just me and my mates… With a sports bar themed man cave, you can live that dream every game night. Why not install a bar and keep some of your favorite beers on tap. Don’t forget the bar snacks. This kind of room could include:
- Sporting memorabilia
- Posters of famous sports stars
- Posters of you in your sporting uniforms
- Comfy leather recliners
- A popcorn machine
- A trophy cabinet
- A bar (with beer on tap and hot dogs at the ready)
This one is for all of you geeks out there that love all things Dungeons & Dragons, World of Warcraft, and the Witcher. Why not turn your man cave into a true adventure’s tavern. With mounted monster heads on the walls, and swords everywhere. You could even put a TTRPG gaming table in the middle of the room.
This kind of room could include:
- A bar stocked with fantasy ales
- Wall mounted weapons
- A large games table
- A notice board full of requests for adventures
- A potions cabinet
- A mimic (if you know, you know)
- Wall mounted monster heads
- Piles of fake treasure (or real treasure if you can afford it)
As you can see when it comes to themes, the possibilities are endless.
“I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”
― Henry David Thoreau
What to Include?
The next big problem you will need to tackle is deciding how are you going to fit all your really awesome stuff into your man cave?! Okay, we’re really going to talk about the kind of things you might want to keep in your man cave. As usual, there are no right or wrong answers. Just try to think about what would improve your life by being in your man cave.
If you’re struggling to come up with ideas, here are some classic man cave items.
Despite being a staple of the traditional man, large, stand out TV’s are going out of style.
What is now popular are wall projections and TVs that blend in seamlessly with the rest of the decor.
But don’t let that stop you from putting a large TV in your man cave. Some themes, in fact, demand large, stand out TVs.
Can you think of a sports bar without one of those? Don’t be afraid to buck trends when it comes to building your perfect man cave.
Fridge for Beer
Classic or cliche? Well, that’s up to you.
However, the world has moved on a little from the humble beer fridge.
It is now possible to have a fully functioning tap bar in your man cave.
Yes, you can buy your favorite beers by the barrel load and hook them up to any kind of themed bar your heart desires.
Of course, a beer fridge is great, but why stop there.
If you’re a pool fan this is a must have.
Don’t be afraid to build the whole room around the pool table.
Especially, if it’s the most important element of your man cave.
Check out Slate vs Wood Pool Table: Which Table is Right for You? to get started.
We’re not here to dredge up the old PlayStation VS Xbox wars, don’t worry!
But no matter which side you’re on, we think having a gaming setup is essential in all good man caves.
After a hard day’s work, we want to kick back and play a few games with our friends.
If this is as important to you as it is to us then we recommend taking the time to get this set up perfect.
And if you want to step it up from console games, we picked the 6 best arcade games for home.
Is it actually possible to picture a man cave without a dartboard? We’re not sure it is.
However, if darts aren’t your thing, don’t feel pressured to include one.
On the other hand, if you love darts then why not treat yourself to a personalized dartboard.
We’re not suggesting putting the face of your enemy on there, but you may want to get a dartboard that’s in keeping with the theme of your room. Or at least makes you smile.
If you’re looking for something a bit retro, why not see if you can get hold of some old arcade games.
Pinball was one of our favorites growing up.
But we’re also partial to a bit of Pac Man. Nothing brings back memories like the sounds on those machines.
It is possible to get hold of both new and refurbished arcade machines.
They really are a great talking point when you have visitors in the cave.
Surround Sound System
What is the essential partner of a large TV, that’s right a surround sound system? This truly is the best way to experience sporting events and movies. No matter your position, you won’t regret installing a bougie sound system for yourself.
Speaking of sound systems.
Being able to play music from your phone or laptop with a click of a button never ceases to amaze us.
And for that reason alone, we believe Bluetooth Speakers to be a man cave staple.
What is a man cave without a few gadgets?
And finally, the neon sign is a historic man cave staple.
They are the icing on the cake of any design plan.
They can suit any theme. And they will always make you smile.
It’s not a case of if you’re going to get a neon sign, but a case of what your sign is going to say…
“Closed in a room, my imagination becomes the universe, and the rest of the world is missing out.”
― Criss Jami, Diotima, Battery, Electric Personality
Great ways to save money when building your man cave
Now that you have a better idea of what you want to install in your man cave, it’s time to look at your budget. If your project is going similarly to how ours did, you’re probably realizing you were a little ambitious with your budget.
Check out How Much Does It Cost To Build A Man Cave? to get a better idea of costs.
There were some areas of our man caves that we refused to skimp on. We wanted to invest in good chairs and a state of the art TV. However, along the way, we discovered a few money saving techniques that we are going to share with you now.
- If you already have an item in your home (but one it doesn’t match the theme of your room), use the item you already have as a placeholder
- Garage sales and flea markets are a gold mine for weird and wacky décor items – at amazing prices
- You can buy cheap furniture and re-upholster it for a fraction of the price of buying new
- Any work that you can do yourself, do it (within reason, you should have experts do things like changing the wiring in the walls, and installing a bar)
Multiuse Man Cave or Dedicated Space?
Before we set you off on your epic journey to design your own man cave we want to talk a little about whether you should have a multipurpose man cave, or not. Sadly, we are not all blessed enough to have an entire room constantly devoted to our man cave. Sometimes a multipurpose man cave is necessary to make our home life work.
If this is the case, how should you deal with having to use your man cave for more than one purpose? Well, we think it is important to make sure that all the purposes of your man cave relate to you. If your cave has to double as a home office, then it should be your office. This allows you to feel like this space is exclusively yours.
You should try and avoid sharing the space where possible. Below are two ways that you can multipurpose your man cave for your own needs.
Multi-purpose option - home gym
Using this space as a home gym as well as a man cave can have some benefits. Working out can still be your alone time if there is no one else in the space. This is going to be most suitable for an extension or garage man cave, as you will need quite a bit of space to workout.
Staying fit is one of the best things we can do for our long-term health, and it will really pay off as we grow older. We have discussed man caves being places devoted to our happiness and improving our health. Maybe it does make sense to pair these two rooms together. As they are both devoted to improving our lives.
We were once given an amazing piece of advice from a friend who said that when he turned his space into a home gym and man cave he canceled his gym membership. He then used all the savings from that to upgrade his man cave. Genius!
Things you should include in your home gym:
- Weights bench
- Yoga mats
- Medicine ball
- Plyo box
- Rowing machine
- Foam roller
Multi-purpose option - home office
Many of us have been working from home over the last year. Many of us may have already sacrificed a potential man cave in order to fit an office in the house.
Combining a man cave and a home office is a totally feasible option. But for your own mental health, it is important to develop a ritual that will help you switch from work mode to relaxation mode.
This could be anything from packing away your fold out desk to changing the light color and blasting your favorite tunes for ten minutes.
Your home office should include:
- A desk
- A work computer
- A lamp
- A charging station
- A chair to relax in during breaks
- A clock
- An ergonomic office chair
The best man caves reflect their owners. They are a combination of all the things that make them happy. They are a safe haven in a busy world. They offer both solitude and entertainment. They are essential in a man’s life.
Every man cave is personal, no two should be the same. However, there are a few things that all man caves need – like a lot of power outlets and a good wifi signal.
If you want to build a man cave with a theme then you should go for it. Your man cave is your space to celebrate the things you love – be it sport, bear, music, books, or anything else. Don’t be afraid to show it!
When designing your man cave you should sit down and plan everything in advance. That way you can design something you truly love and get all of the little details right.
Sometimes we have to create multipurpose man caves that lead double lives. By day they are home gyms or home offices. But by night they are a den of laughter and beer drinking. It is possible to make this work. But it is important to draw a line between work and relaxation time.
Your man cave should be designed around you. What are you waiting for? It’s time to start building!